This is the text of a post I made elsewhere. It’ll be edited in due time.
A lot of people want to understand environment change; in this post are some of the sites an interested non-scientist can link to. It has been kept as basic as possible; the links contain some information on most, if not all, of the main subjects that come up on the internet. Most of them have their own links which lead to more technical follow-up information or material.
Two documents stand out as being clear but detailed introductions to climate change: the Hadley Centre’s 60 page pdf slideshow covers all of the main ideas:
or a 24 page document called ‘Understanding and Responding to Climate Change’, produced by the US-based Board on Atmospheric Science and climate (BASC), on:
NOAA, a huge US government organisation, has many interesting links on the subject. A quick ‘google’ will take you to their homepage. They have produced a very short summary of the IPCC Third Assessment Report (see below), in the form of FAQ’s, on:
The Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC TAR) is a long document, but a very important one. It was a detailed international summary of the available science, in 2001, of climate change. A lot of discussions refer to this report, and debates still continue about its contents. On a wet weekend, you can find it on:
Reading this will certainly give you an advantage when discussing the issues, whether you agree or disagree with its contents. Note, though, that the fourth report is due out in January 2007, so some of the information will be out-of-date in a few months time. [a link will be posted when it becomes available online]
An American physicist, Spencer Weart, has produced an outstanding series of long essays on almost every issue to do with climate change, on;
Don’t be put off by the title, ‘The Discovery of Global Warming’; it is a very, very good site for finding out about all sides of the climate change debate.
For information on the past and future of British climate, The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) is a good starting point: http://www.ukcip.org.uk/default.asp
Their overview of climate change is on: http://www.ukcip.org.uk/climate_change/
They also have a useful summary of the UK climate since 1914:
At the bottom are links to the Climate Research Unit, another excellent website, and their original research documents. A href=”http://”www.cru.uea.ac.uk/” target=_blank>http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/
There are people who do not assume/agree that global warming is happening. Two popular sites are:
Some eminent and respected scientists also take issue with a lot of the assumptions contained in the above reports. Of these, you should know about Climate Science; http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/
Some of the commentators on climate change are ‘controversial’. A US site called ‘Sourcewatch’ is not unbiased, but can be revealing about certain people. You can use the search engine on the index page to find out about them:
Why isn’t Wikipedia on this list? Wikipedia is a brilliant resource. It is also an ‘open’ resource, meaning that the quality and honesty/reliability of some entries is doubtful, but it is hard to tell which. If you are on this pin, it is because you were confused. Relying on the entries in Wikipedia is likely to add to your confusion, until you have an idea about the quality of what you are reading, so, for a ‘beginner’, it isn’t the best idea.
If you ‘google’ ‘global warming’, you’ll get about 42 million ‘hits’ in less than a second. In a day or so, a post will add some of the more useful and interesting sites, including weblogs and links to graphics.
A final word, about the media: for most of us, the information we get about climate change comes from news, press and internet sources. The job of the media is to make a story out of the science, not to provide balanced public information. Like it or not, most news reports are ‘spun’. They are not necessarily dishonest, but they can be deceptive. It is always a good idea to question what you read or hear from the media. NW is a good place to do this, as are many other forums; you will often get a lively exchange of views, and can then make your own mind up about how credible a story is.